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Pistons' Meeks out 3-4 months after toe surgery

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — The Pistons bench will have a new look, beginning tonight, as reserve shooting guard Jodie Meeks will be out three to four months with the injury he suffered Wednesday.

The team announced Friday afternoon that Meeks will be out after having surgery Thursday night to repair a non-displaced fracture of his right pinky toe.

Meeks left in the first half of Wednesday's win over the Utah Jazz and after an X-ray showed a Jones fracture in the foot, the Pistons were forced to start looking at the backup plan.

That begins in tonight's game against the Chicago Bulls at The Palace, with Reggie Bullock likely taking most of the minutes and Stanley Johnson moving from his small forward position to take a few.

Meeks, 28, also missed the start of last season because of a back injury, but returned to average 11.1 points in 60 games.

"Right now Reggie will be our primary guy at the (shooting guard) but we can do a lot of things against different lineups; it wouldn't be a problem," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "There's no difference between the (shooting guard and small forward) in our system, so that's actually an easy adjustment to make."

Meeks is the best shooter among the reserves, so having him out for an extended period means that the dynamic of that group changes. While Johnson isn't the same type of shooter, it will give Van Gundy a different challenge to try to create offense for them.

"We'll have to find some stuff to run for that second unit as we go. Jodie has been a big focal point in terms of when we have to run sets in that second unit," he said. "(Johnson) could have the ball in hands more. His decision-making has to improve.

"He's taking a lot of bad shots right now. I like him on the attack, so I don't want to rein him in too far, but he's got to make better decisions."

Bullock, who was one of the surprises in training camp and beat out Cartier Martin and Adonis Thomas for one of the final roster spots, feels for Meeks but knows that the Pistons have to move on.

One of Bullock's biggest assets was playing within himself and not trying to do too much to get outside of his strengths, which are defense and protecting the ball.

"A player went down and that means it's time for the whole team — not just myself, but the whole team — to step up," Bullock said. "We've got to go out and play hard. The thing Jodie brought to the game was shooting, but I've got to go out and play my game."

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

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